Turkish delight

2015-11-19 06:00

A FORTNIGHT ago I attended a function at the ICC in Durban to celebrate the launch of a new and direct air service from Europe-Middle East to King Shaka International Airport.

Unbeknown to me, Turkish Airlines flies to more destinations than any other airline in the world so its connectivity benefit for our overseas markets in Europe and the Middle East becomes more evident.

Here on the South Coast our long-haul market is relatively small (10-15%) in comparison to our domestic scenarios, however, I am of the opinion that this new ease of access directly to the Zulu kingdom will grow our province’s and localised visitor-base from abroad.

Besides visitors from the EU, the Balkan states and the Slavic-speaking nations, the Turkish market has immense potential. Some years ago while researching for an island development off the northern coast of Mozambique I was amazed to find that the highest incidence of billionaires within the study area of Africa-Middle East emanated from Turkey. This presents opportunity for mid- to high-end spenders to come to KwaZulu-Natal.

In Turkey there has been a massive upsurge in the construction of golf courses and participation in the sport. In the years ahead, I am sure that these “new” golfers will seek destinations like ours to enjoy their sport and take in our eco and cultural tourism attractions along the way.

Tourism KwaZulu-Natal and partners such as the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) are looking at ways to increase the number of international airlines to this province, this as a means of establishing King Shaka International Airport as a true hub for inter- and intra- continental routes.

Should they succeed, the opportunities for inbound foreign tourists will increase and we as an organisation will be monitoring developments to ascertain opportunities in terms of packaging and promotion of our Ugu District.

A little bit of Turkish delight has whet the appetite for our tourism industry to seek a slice of this new market potential from historic Istanbul and beyond.

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